Watchmen Episode Nine, See How They Fly Review. Satisfying, Yet Disappointing.

4 stars
And that’s a wrap.
HBO’s Watchmen has concluded with its final episode, “See How They Fly” directed by Frederick E.O Toye, and, honestly, I’m a little disappointed.
That is not to say that I did not enjoy the finale because I did.
However, compared to the incredible episodes that came before “See How They Fly” is more on par with the first few episodes of the series.
Not only this, but there are multiple things that are set up throughout the season but many of them do not pay off here.
A prime example of this is Laurie Blake, who has such a minor role in this finale, despite being hyped up in the third episode.
In that episode, Laurie’s relationship with Dr Manhattan is shown to be very important to her character, and we are reminded of this in the seventh episode when Cal is revealed to be Manhattan.
So, how do these two characters interact in the finale?
Well, they don’t.
Laurie and Manhattan were shown to be intrinsically tied together in this story and yet there is no moment where they talk.
Laurie barely even reacts when she learns of his death.
And then there is Looking Glass, who is also pushed to the side.
The only role he and Laurie have is arresting Ozymandias at the end but they do nothing to progress the overall plot.

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Despite both characters having an entire episode focused around them, Laurie and Looking Glass serve almost no role in the finale.

And what the hell was the point of Lube Man anyway?
I know the Peteypedia hints at Petey being Lube Man but you don’t just put a scene into an episode that looks to be important only for it to be relegated to internet content.
Speaking of setup things not having importance, remember when that guy showed up on Angela’s doorstep wanting to see her and Cal’s kids?
He is never seen again so who was he and what was his point?
I know I am hating on this finale a lot but I do want to say that, even though I was disappointed, there are still a lot of great things about it.
My favourite part of “See How They Fly” has to be the Ozymandias scenes.
I loved his opening escape from Europa with Trieu being revealed as his daughter, like many had predicted.
By far the best scene, though, is the callback to the Watchmen graphic novel where Ozymandias catches a bullet fired by the Game Warden.
As he kills the Game Warden, we learn that Ozymandias made him wear a mask to make him cruel as his entire conflict with him was created by Ozymandias to have a worthy adversary to keep him sane, even if he does not consider the Game Warden worthy.
This is certainly not the last mask metaphor in the episode either.

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Fabricating an entire mortal enemy storyline to keep himself entertained is classic Ozymandias.

Upon returning to earth, Ozymandias is dragged along by Trieu, who plans to transfer Dr Manhattan’s powers to her like the Seventh Kalvary do, but she hopes to use his powers to create world peace.
However, being Ozymandias’ daughter, she is, of course, a narcissistic megalomaniac, so cannot be trusted with such power.
Hong Chau does an amazing job portraying Trieu’s crazy side as she reveals that Joe Keene Jr. has deservedly been reduced to a puddle of gore.
I also really enjoyed her nonchalant reply to Jane Crawford saying she’s going to kill them of, “Oh, yeah. Of course I am.”
But then, Dr Manhattan transports Ozymandias, Laurie and Looking Glass to Ozymandias’ Antarctic base to “save the day.”
There, they turn the squids Ozymandias had been using to simulate an alien invasion into deadly projectiles to stop Trieu from achieving her goal.
Before this, though, we get the death of Dr Manhattan as Trieu transfers his power.
This was a genuinely sad moment but it was  a little tacky, considering how off Dr Manhattan still looks.
After his death, Trieu is stopped by Ozymandias’ plan as the squids rain down and, just before Trieu is killed, a Jesus on the Cross stand falls just as Trieu’s illusions of godhood fall.
She is crushed by her Millennium Clock or, more appropriately, her own hubris.
Taking refuge in the same theater where Will Reeves sat as a child as the Tulsa Massacre took place, Angela finds her grandfather caring over her children.
Will reveals how this was all part of Manhattan’s plan and, in my second favourite moment of the episode, he explains to Angela that what he felt when he became Hooded Justice was fear and hurt, not anger, and that “you can’t heal under a mask, Angela. Wounds need air.”

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Will’s line about masks during this scene is instantly iconic.

The music during this moment is also exceptional.
I have to say that I really liked how this show expanded on Hooded Justice and made him a much more interesting character than the original did.
Will and Ozymandias have the best moments of the series by far.
Speaking of Ozymandias, like I said, he is arrested by Laurie and Looking Glass near the end of the episode.
Looking Glass doing this does bring an end to his arc but it was a small part given what came before.
Hopefully, if we get another season then we can see more of him.
If we do get a continuation, though, I have no idea how they are going to follow up the big cliffhanger, which leaves it up to the audience to decide if Angela inherited Dr Manhattan’s powers when she ate the egg he left her.
The final shot of Angela about to attempt to walk on water but cutting away before it can be revealed if she can reminded me a lot of the open ending to Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
As soon as I saw her foot descending to the water, I knew it was not going to show us.
Still, it is a great shot to finish the finale on, whether this is the last we see of the show or not.
Overall, I found “See How They Fly” to be a satisfying conclusion, although somewhat disappointing with its usage of characters like Laurie and Looking Glass.
However, for characters like Angela, Will, and Ozymandias the end was more than worth the wait.
That is if this is the end because, in the words of Dr Manhattan himself, “nothing ever ends.”

Watchmen Episode Eight Review: A God Walks Into Abar… Oh, I Get It!

4 and a half stars
After Watchmen‘s biggest twist yet in Episode Seven, Episode Eight “A God Walks Into Abar” sets about explaining that twist, starting off with the great pun of a title.
This pun comes from the beginning of the episode when Dr Manhattan both walks into a bar and walks into Abar with the intention of starting a relationship with her, which he already knows will happen because of his ability to see the past, present and future simultaneously.
Nicole Kassel returns to direct “A God Walks Into Abar”, which is almost entirely from Dr Manhattan’s point of view across time.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II does a fantastic job as the character, portraying a perfect mixture of uncaring and caring that creates that enigma that is Dr Manhattan.
Although, I will say the effects and makeup do make him look a little cheesy, which did draw me out of the scene on a few occasions.
These moments are relatively minor, though, and the scenes with Dr Manhattan’ first meeting with Angela are amazingly shot through how it avoids showing his face.
Mateen II and Regina King have great chemistry throughout the episode and it was very investing to watch Angela go from skeptical but interested in Dr Manhattan to in love with him as time passed.

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Angela and Dr Manhattan’s relationship is done very well with both actors doing a fantastic job.

Dr Manhattan’s love for Angela is also brilliantly portrayed through how he experiences time.
The moment he falls in love with her is when she tries to save him from the Seventh Kalvary many years after the get together.
However, because Dr Manhattan experiences time simultaneously, he was already in love with Angela when he met her because he knew of this moment.
Sadly, Dr Manhattan also seems to know of his imminent capture, which he allows to happen, either because he is a victim to time or because he has some other plan.
I guess we will just have to wait and see which one it is.
He did say that Angela had to remember he could walk on water so that has to be important.

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There are numerous theories about other characters obtaining Dr Manhattan’s powers like Angela and Will.

“A God Walks Into Abar” also goes about explaining many of the mysteries surrounding both Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias and Will.
We see how Angela chose Cal’s body for Dr Manhattan to impersonate, hence why he appears as he does, and Will learns of Crawford’s involvement with Cyclops and the Klan robe in his closet because of Dr Manhattan conveying a question to him from Angela in the present.
This creates a time loop that raises the interesting question of if Crawford was as bad as he seemed?
Will’s information about Crawford was not gained first hand and Crawford did later tell him he was trying to help.
Although, again, this did come with some racist undertones when he said it so maybe I am looking too deep into it.
As for Ozymandias, we finally got an answer to why he is on Europa and who created the clones that served and arrested him.
They were made by Dr Manhattan, who he based off a couple he met as a child that asked him to build something beautiful when he grew up.
And, when Dr Manhattan obtained a Tachyon device from Ozymandias that allowed him to live as Cal by losing his memories, he rewarded Ozymandias by sending him to Europa to be served by the clones.

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Ozymandias thinks he is entering his own personal heaven when he gets sent to Europa when, in reality, it is his hell

The reason the clones served Ozymandias to the point of death is because they were created to always put others before themselves, which is why Manhattan left and why Ozymandias now wants to.
Initially happy in this paradise, he grew bored of it all and now wants to return to his millions of children on earth like the delusional maniac he is.
However, because the clones’ one rule is that no one is allowed to leave, he is imprisoned.
This is when Ozymandias is confronted in a post credits scene by the Game Warden who reveals he was the first to be created by Dr Manhattan, essentially making him the Adam of Europa.
But this raises the question that if he is Adam then what happened to Eve?
Perhaps we will find out next episode?
In any case, the episode then ends with Ozymandias discovering a clone has mistakenly put a horse shoe in his cake, which allows him to initiate a plan to begin his escape back to earth.
Considering that next episode is the last one, I am not sure how this will happen.
In fact, I would say that I am slightly concerned about how all the different plot points like Ozymandias, Dr Manhattan’s capture, Trieu and Will’s plan, Laurie, Looking Glass, and of course Lube Man, are going to come together for the final episode.
Still, Watchmen has been fantastic so far so I have to put faith in that they can pull it off.
“A God Walks Into Abar” is another fantastic episode of the series and it will be interesting to see how it all ends in the finale.

Watchmen Episode Seven An Almost Religious Awe Review: Another Fan Theory Confirmed.

4 and a half stars
I really need to start paying more attention to the Watchmen fan theories.
First, I rejected the Will is Hooded Justice theory because it did not make sense for everyone to think he was white but then it turned out to be true.
And then, I rejected the theory that Angela’s husband Cal is Dr Manhattan in disguise because he was supposed to be on Mars.
Well, David Semel’s episode seven of Watchmen, “An Almost Religious Awe” proved me wrong again because, you guessed it, Cal is secretly Dr Manhattan.
Although, I guess it is not so much of a secret now because the Seventh Kalvary know and are planning on capturing him and giving his powers to Senator Joe Keene Jr.
This actually explains how Angela survived the White Night.
Dr Manhattan saved her from the Seventh Kalvary but someone probably saw this and reported back, leading to the plan to turn Keene into the new racist Dr Manhattan.
Speaking of Keene, after episode five, I speculated that he might just be using the Seventh Kalvary and may not actually be a full on racist.
Well, I was wrong again because Keene is definitely that, complaining that it is difficult to be a white man in America… while he is a senator.
Hypocrisy at its finest.

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Sure, some of the white citizens of Nixonville are not well off, but Keene is a senator, Crawford was the chief of police and the president of the United States is Robert Redford, a white man. Is it really so hard to be one in the Watchmen universe?

In any case, Keene explains his plan to Laurie Blake who is captured by Chief Crawford’s wife in a scene that felt kind of stupid with how easily she was trapped.
Didn’t she used to be a superhero?
And I know in Watchmen the superheroes don’t have powers, except Dr Manhattan, but I would have thought Laurie would at least be skilled enough as an FBI agent and former hero.
On another note, it will be interesting to see how Laurie reacts to learning Cal is her ex Dr Manhattan.
It should create drama between her and Angela but they will probably be too occupied dealing with the Seventh Kalvary to worry about it.
It just remains to be seen who will rescue Laurie.
Will it be Looking Glass or the greatest hero of them all Lube Man?
Jokes aside, we get more hints to future reveals, mostly through Lady Trieu who reveals that Bian is a clone of her mother, as expected, and that her father will be joining them soon.
This has caused many to speculate that Ozymandias is her father and the message he sent was “SAVE ME DAUGHTER.”
I dismissed the Hooded Justice and Dr Manhattan theories and I was wrong about those so I am not dismissing this one.
As for Ozymandias, he appears is a farcical and flatulent scene where he is put on trial by the clones, headed by the Game Warden.
His only defense is a massive fart he lets out before he is judged as guilty through a jury of peers, a pen of pigs.

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The Ozymandias scenes only continue to get weirder and weirder as the series progresses.

Ozymandias will probably not be executed, though, because he has to link up with the main storyline somehow.
I have heard a theory that the meteorite strike in the fourth episode was actually him landing on earth and he is now trapped in the statue of himself and this seems pretty likely to me.
After all, I certainly have to start paying more attention to fan theories after I dismissed two of them, only for both of them to be right.
I remember the exact moment Lady Trieu started talking about how Dr Manhattan was disguised as a human on earth and I knew instantly it was Cal.
Honestly, I should have realised it was true earlier with how many hints there were.
Will said that Dr Manhattan could appear as any race, subtly telling Angela that he knew her secret.
And then there was the moment I mentioned when Cal told his kids that there is no heaven, and that when you die there is nothing, which was very apathetic and classic Dr Manhattan.
After realizing that the theory was right, I sat back and watched as Angela hit Cal in the head with a hammer to release Dr Manhattan.
I remember praying that she had not just lost her mind and murdered her husband in a fit of insanity but, thankfully, he really was Dr Manhattan, leading to a great cliffhanger for the next episode.

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Imagine if Angela had actually gone nuts and killed her husband because she believed he was Dr Manhattan. That would have been traumatizing.

It will be interesting to see how his relationship with Angela began and what led them to this point, especially with Angela’s tragic backstory that was revealed this episode, with her parents being killed by a suicide bomber and then her grandmother dying of a heart attack before she could be adopted.
Overall, “An Almost Religious Awe” is another great episode of Watchmen that has me excited for how the final two episodes are going to play out.
I have no idea how the Seventh Kalvary plan to take down Dr Manhattan since he is a literal god but it will be interesting to see.

Watchmen, Episode Four, If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own, Review: Lady Trieu Enters Stage Right.

4 stars
Directed by Andrij Parekh, episode four of Watchmen, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own,” certainly seems to be the episode that begins to connect the plot lines together.
And this all starts with the appearance of the mysterious Lady Trieu (Hong Chau) in the opening scene.
“If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” begins with the Clark family receiving a visit from Trieu who knows of their struggles to have a child.
So, she decides to gift them with one, essentially cloning a baby with their DNA.
This gift does not come without a price, though, because Trieu wants to buy their land, apparently because of some kind of object that crash lands there after the Clarks give the rights to her for the baby.
With this baby being delivered to them, the object that appears to be from space crashing in their back yard, and the fact that the couple’s last name is Clark, it is obvious that this first scene is allegorical to Superman.

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Some kind of meteorite crashes on the land of the Clarks who then receive the miracle baby they always wanted. Is this Watchmen or Superman?

Given that Dr Manhattan is essentially Watchmen‘s  Superman, this speaks to the possible connection between him and Trieu.
The signs are everywhere both through this scene and Ozymandias’, who we see again testing the limits of his prison by launching his murdered servant clones out of it with a catapult.
However, before this, we get a disturbing explanation of these servant clones who Ozymandias fishes out of the water as babies, using traps, and then transforms them into adults through some kind of machine.
The sounds of his transformation are particularly gruesome but the implications of these clones are very clear.
Ozymandias says that he did not create the clones, highly implying that Dr Manhattan or Lady Trieu, or possibly both of them, have something to do with it.
Dr Manhattan did say he was going to create some life when he left earth in the Watchmen graphic novel, and Trieu has been shown capable of creating life in the opening scene.
Along with this, Tieu’s daughter Bian (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport) also seems to be some kind of clone, having nightmares about the war in Vietnam when she is way too young to have been alive then.
Then there is the statue of Ozymandias Trieu has, which looks exactly like the man himself does in his captivity.
All these signs speak to the links between Trieu, Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias, and these should hopefully become clearer in future episodes.

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Ozymandias, Trieu and Dr Manhattan all appear to be linked in this episode, although, to what extent we will have to find out later.

Either way, Trieu somehow manages to top Ozymandias as the most interesting character this episode with various hints to her connections with other characters.
She is also confirmed to be working with Will Reeves for some, as yet, unknown goal.
Them working together is first revealed by Trieu subtly telling Sister Night in Vietnamese that her grandfather wondered if she had the pills.
Then there is the final scene, which shows the two are planning something big in three days that Sister Night will hate Will for.
If I had to guess, I would say that Will and Trieu’s plan was probably generated by the racism they have suffered.
Will’s parents were killed in the Tulsa Massacre and it is highly implied that Trieu and her family were severely impacted by the Vietnam War so it makes sense that the trauma caused by these events would lead them down the path they are now on.
Will also appears to be in perfect health now, walking normally, despite being 105-years-old, which does make it possible for him to have been the one to kill Judd Crawford.
He also repeats the catch phrase of the Seventh Kalvary, “tick, tock”, showing the importance of Trieu’s Millennium Clock, which is clearly representative of the Doomsday Clock in the graphic novel.
With so much emphasis on Trieu, Ozymandias and Will, it was a little hard for Sister Night to stand out, although there is one scene of her that has stuck in my mind.
However, this is not because of her but because of the weird vigilante figure watching her who has been dubbed Lube Man.

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Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Lube Man!

This weirdo, who in all likelihood is probably Petey (Dustin Ingram), sees Sister Night dispose of Will’s wheelchair before running off and using his lube to escape into a sewer.
Sister Night’s following exclamation of “the f$#*!” basically voices what the viewers were thinking at this moment.
Speaking of Sister Night, though, there is something off about her husband Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
He tells their adopted children that there is no heaven and when you die you don’t exist anymore.
Now, Cal could just simply be an atheist, but this seems a little too much of an apathetic thing to say to children who have just lost their uncle and also lost their biological parents.
There are some theories out there that Cal is a form of Dr Manhattan and there is some evidence that seems to support this.
However, I have no idea why Dr Manhattan would return to earth to live out life as a family man when he did not seem to care about such things so the theory is probably wrong.
Either way, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own” is another solid episode of Watchmen that seems to be connecting the plot lines together, building towards whatever the finale will be.
The next episode looks to be centered around Looking Glass who appears to be going undercover to investigate the Seventh Kalvary.
He knows about Crawford’s possible Kalvary connections from Sister Night and he has Will’s pills so this could lead to him discovering the conspiracy.
Let’s just hope he doesn’t die as soon as he discovers it.

Aquaman: Good Old Cheesy Fun.

3 and a half stars
It is kind of funny how much of a reversal the character of Aquaman in the DC Universe is compared to his comic book counterpart.
The comic version of Aquaman is often made the butt of a joke by most people, while the film version of Aquaman makes the jokes.
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman is the second film in the DCU to achieve the status of good and, much like the even better Wonder Woman, is a step in the right direction.
The film follows Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry, the Aquaman, who is called to Atlantis to stop his brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) from attacking the surface world.
Momoa steals the show as Aquaman, breathing new life into the character.
He both manages to make Arthur funny and feel real to the viewer.

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Jason Momoa is great as Aquaman delivering both heart and laughs in his performance.

One particular scene where he contemplates whether he is worthy to be king is a standout.
However, one thing to note about Aquaman is that it is a very cheesy film… but this works to its advantage.
Aquaman knows it is cheesy and fully embraces it, creating a much better experience.
That said, there are a few cringe inducing moments but these are few and far between.
James Wan has created a spectacle here with amazing action sequences and special effects to draw you into the world of Atlantis.
Although, the hair effects do look a bit weird but that is a minor detail.
Helping build on this undersea kingdom is the characters that inhabit its world.
For example, the love story between Arthur’s parents (Nicole Kidman and Temuera Morrison) helps build the world and is genuinely sweet.
Not all the characters are great though because Orm is a pretty one dimensional villain that held little interest.
This is made up for by Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who stood out as a compelling enemy for Aquaman during the brief screen time he had.

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It felt like Black Manta should have been the main villain since he was more interesting than King Orm.

The thing Aquaman is above all else though is a fun movie.
It does not deal with any complex themes and sometimes the movie can get a little cringe worthy but it is still a good time with fun performances, great CGI and epic action sequences.
It will be interesting to see where this goes in the future.